It was 2019, five years after Ivo Rutten and Roelant Hietbrink pitched ShipShape to Philips Lighting’s CTO Olivia Qiu. During these five years, many things had happened: the project was killed and reborn, was transferred to another department and acquired new leadership. It had taken shape in collaboration with partners and developed steadily but then ran into serious obstacles. During these ups and downs, Rutten and Hietbrink were convinced that Philips Lighting needed a reliable industry partner to help carry ShipShape to success. The shipping industry was uncharted waters for Philips Lighting, yet the company could not realize the market value of ShipShape all by itself. The questions at stake were which company was most compatible, how to make the partnership mutually beneficial, and how to make the relationship sustainable. Despite having its roots within Philips Lighting (now Signify), ShipShape was transferred to Philips Intellectual Property & Standards (IP&S) and was renamed 'RunWell'. The case recounts this transfer journey and explores the partnership between Philips IP&S and AkzoNobel, further building on the political landscape within Philips.

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RSM Case Development Centre

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Erasmus Research Institute of Management

Tarakci, M., & Gatt, C. (2022). Philip’s Corporate Innovation (C): Finding and Managing the Right Partner. RSM Case Development Centre. Retrieved from